2International students – opening a bank account in the UK Gretta Gavin – Student Adviser (Guy’s Campus)Steve Hawdon – Student Adviser (Strand and Guy’s Campus)
3Banking JargonBanking terms can differ from country to country, what could these terms mean?Basic Bank AccountDirect DebitStanding OrderAPRSwitchCredit CardATMOverdraftDebit card
4Opening a Bank AccountInternational students, new to the UK, want to be settled as soon as possibleOpening a bank account helps achieve thisOpening a bank account in the UK is the safest and most effective way of managing your money as a full-time studentIt is also easier if you seek part time employment, as most employers will pay your earnings directly into a UK bank account
5What sort of bank account? Often students have difficulty opening accounts in foreign countries because the banks:take a while to process new accountsconduct additional credit checks for international applicantsusually ask for extra supporting documentation
6Basic bank accountsThe majority of international students should be allowed to open what is called a ‘basic bank account’:Allowing students to pay money in and take it outProviding a cash-point (ATM) card to withdraw money at cash-pointsBasic bank accounts do not offer students any form of credit, so you will not be given any overdraft facility, chequebook or credit cardMost basic accounts will not accept standing orders so you will have difficulty transferring money in from abroad
7Current accountInternational students who are here for longer than six months should be able to open a student account with more flexibility than a basic bank account with:a debit card for withdrawing cash and paying for purchasesshould accept direct debits/standing orders allowing you to transfer money from abroadinternet banking
8Which bank is best for you? Only you know the answer to this question!Consider:What sort of bank account is being offered – perhaps go for one that is most generous in its facilitiesAre there any charges?What documentation is required to open the account and can you provide it allDoes the bank have a branch on or near campus or where you will be living? And is this important to you?
9What do the different banks offer? HSBC “Passport Account”NatWest “Advantage Blue International”Lloyd’s TSB “Classic Account”Barclays “International Student Account”Santander “International Student Account”Some banks have a monthly fee between £5 and £8/month; Visa debit card or cash card;International Money Transfer;24/7 Internet and Telephone Banking
10How to open a bank account in the UK? You will normally be required to provide documentary evidence of:Your identityStudent statusProof of UK addressProof of previous overseas addressIf you deposit a large sum of money it is more likely banks may offer you a more generous account
11How to open a bank account in the UK? Proof of identity: Valid Passport or EU National Identity CardProof of Student Status, UK Address and Overseas Address:Confirmation of Study letter (given out at campus registration) which will confirm:NameCourseStart and end date of the course of studyCurrent UK addressOverseas addressMust be signed and display the College stampIf you did not receive a letter at registration or the bank requires more information request a Confirmation of Study letter via Compass online.
12Important things to consider Your name:The spelling of your name in our system needs to be identical to the spelling in your passport. If it is not, go to your campus records centre to change it.Your address:Your UK address and overseas address need to be up-to date. If they are not,log into Student Records portal and change it
13How to order your bank letter You need to be enrolled in order to get a letter – you CANNOT get it beforeYour addresses need to be up-to-date. If they are not, you CANNOT get a letterThe production time is FIVE working days (if you have not received a letter at campus registration)Apply online at
14Banks we have an agreement with You are free to open you account with any bank you like, but the following three banks have approved our student letter, and been helpful to international students.HSBC Charing Cross BranchNatWest Aldwych BranchLloyd’s TSB Law Courts Branch
15How long does it take to open a bank account in the UK? If you decide to bank with HSBC Charing Cross and Lloyd’s Temple, you can usually get an account number immediately, so you can pay money in or set up a direct debit.However, it will take approximately 7 – 14 days before your account will be fully functional (your debit card and pin numbers to be sent to you etc.)